February 23, 2011

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts Jurying

Last week I had the privilege and the pleasure of serving as a juror for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College, PA.  It was an intensive two days of jurying, facilitated by Festival Director Rick Bryant and his excellent staff and volunteers.  Above I am posed with my fellow jurors--unbelievably, it was warm enough to step outside--L-R  are Jimmy Clark, Ron Thurston, myself, Sharon Massey, and Karla Prickett.  Visit the Festival blog for their bios; I was in very esteemed company!
Below is a shot of the jury hard at work.  The submission process was done online, and  viewing and ranking the images was done digitally.  Each juror had a laptop, and in front of us were 5 digital projectors and 5 large screens.  As the images came up on the screens, the artist's statement was read to us.
There were over 1,100 submissions for the roughly 300 spots available.  Each submission consisted of 4 images of the artwork and one of the artist's booth, for a total of 5,500 + images to view and weigh in on over the course of two days.  It was intensive work, but well planned and well paced, they kept us supplied with good food and plenty of coffee, and it went very smoothly.  I saw some amazing work throughout this process--some of those images are still stuck in my head, in a good way--so I am really looking forward to returning in July and seeing the work that made the cuts in person.  At that time the jurors will visit all the booths and score the work again in order to award prizes. 

I am frequently on the other side of this equation, as I submit to a lot of exhibitions, and I learned a long time ago to celebrate any acceptances that come my way, but not to take it personally when my work is declined.  This experience reconfirmed my belief that jurors take their responsibilities seriously, want their fellow artists to succeed, and make difficult decisions based on the criteria of the prospectus in order to showcase the best work available and help ensure that the event will be a success. 

February 8, 2011

Groundhog and Green Bean Acceptance for National Fiber Directions

 I'm very pleased to announce that Groundhog and Green Bean has been accepted into National Fiber Directions, at the Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita KS.  The juror for the exhibit is Jill Rumoshosky Werner, an artist whose innovative conceptual work I have long admired, so I'm doubly pleased that she included my piece in what promises to be a very interesting show. From the prospectus: "The exhibition is open, but not limited to, the following: uniquely designed functional pieces such as coverlets, pillows, tablecloths, garments, rugs, etc., and nonfunctional tapestries, wall hangings, 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works which have been printed, painted, embellished, felted, woven, knitted, twined, cast paper, quilted, stitched, or other forms of manipulating fiber for art."  Doesn't that sound grand?  The exhibit will run from March 25 - May 8.
 Groundhog and Green Bean is part of my latest series, Flora and Fauna, where I'm using animal skull images from local wildlife paired with botanical prints and vintage textile elements.  I have a long standing love/hate relationship with groundhogs, as do most gardeners.  I lost a lot of greenbeans before I finally threw in the towel and fenced in the vegetable beds, so there might be a hint of schadenfreude in my use of the skull in this instance.
The skull prints are cyanotypes, made from macro photographs I took, and the green bean print is made directly from the leaves of last year's crop.

February 7, 2011

Midwinter Break in Torrance, CA

 I had an unexpected opportunity to take a quick trip to the Torrance, CA area, just outside of Los Angeles, and I jumped on it.  It's been a tough winter here in PA, and I was largely  interested in getting WARM.  I did a fair amount of lazing around in the sunshine, but I also worked in some fun activities.  I took a hike near Palos Verdes and spotted the Goodyear Blimp (above) and ate twice at the Green Temple vegetarian restaurant (below).  I had dined here back in 2004, and was pleased to see that the decor was just as funky, and the food was just as delicious, as I remembered it.  I can personally recommend the walnut loaf with mushroom gravy.
 I visited the Madrona Marsh Nature Preserve, a charming bit of natural land in the very midst of the urban/suburban sprawl in Torrance.  I give them great credit for preserving and managing this bit of wild and rare ecosystem.  It's interesting in that you are treated to scenes like this:
 And this:
 But if you look over your shoulder, you spot this:
 And off in the distance is this:
 They also have a Nature Center, with friendly staffers and helpful exhibits, and a good specimen garden.  This week the lupines were blooming:
 As were the fuschia flowering currants:
 On another day I braved the freeway into Long Beach to go on a whale watch cruise.  At the start of the trip we passed the Queen Mary; it's now a hotel and tourist attraction:
 We were very lucky on the cruise and spotted a young migrating  gray whale, simultaneously with a large group of several hundred common dolphins.  At one point, the whale was rolling in the water while the dolphins were jumping over it--apparently a very rare occurrence, and extremely exciting!  You will have to take my word for it, as I was too busy experiencing the moment to capture it, but just imagine a large whale flipper and some leaping dolphins in this picture:
 We also spotted brown pelicans, cormorants, and sea lions, both swimming and sunbathing:
 Back on land, I visited  the Aquarium of the Pacific and enjoyed it very much.  Among other treasures they have a wonderful collection of jellyfish, like this Crystal Jelly:
 And this Lion's Mane Jelly:
And some fabulous sea horse exhibits, including these Weedy Sea Dragons:
On my final day, I hung out at Redondo Beach:
 Had great fish tacos at Pancho's:
 And watched the sun set over Manhattan Beach:
The sure sign of a successful vacation is the desire to return home.  I'm not thrilled to be back in the land of the dreaded "wintry mix"--there's more in the forecast--but I am happy to be back to my own bed and my studio and my friends and family.  I'm relaxed and refreshed and ready to start work on some projects that have been simmering on the back burner.  Wish me luck in keeping that mellow vacation vibe going forward....